Newsweek quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Fellow Robert Manning on why deterrence still works against North Korea:

“Deterrence still works in Korea,” says Robert A. Manning, a former specialist on Korea and nuclear weapons in the State and Defense departments and office of the director of national intelligence. If Kim Jong Un massed troops on the border, he says, the U.S. would have plenty of time to warn him of the dire consequences of invading South Korea. “The bit of good news on North Korea is that they are not Al-Qaeda, not suicidal [and] hoping for 72 virgins,” says Manning, now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. “The Kimster and friends value regime survival above all. They know that if they start any major conflict, the whole place will glow in the dark.”

But loading our nukes to hit Pyongyang could also backfire. “The one scenario in which deterrence may not hold is a collapse scenario,” Manning tellsNewsweek. “If they are going down, they may want to take us with them.” However unsatisfactory the status quo, he says, containment is probably the best we can hope for. Beijing seems determined to keep propping up the Kims, mainly to prevent millions of Korean refugees from flooding China. And as long as that remains unchanged, the Kims aren’t going anywhere. “People have been predicting North Korea’s collapse for 25 years,” he says. “Don’t hold your breath.”

Read the full article here.

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